FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – European Tour officials exhaled last week when Rory McIlroy retained his membership on the circuit at the deadline.
McIlroy had suggested he wouldn’t take up his membership in 2019, pointing out that it was a non-Ryder Cup year. But the issue was complicated by a rule that demands future European Ryder Cup captains be tour members throughout their careers.
The Northern Irishman’s decision to keep his membership was particularly good news for 2020 European Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington.
“It is nice that he has taken membership to put it down on paper and make things a little simpler and less complicated,” Harrington said. “I would be on the side of making the players jump through a few more hoops to be in the Ryder Cup team. It is a huge deal to play in the Ryder Cup team in terms of people's careers.”
Harrington took his commitment to the Ryder Cup and European Tour a step further when he explained his mindset heading into next year’s matches and his potential captain’s picks. The deadline to make his picks for 2020 will be the week after the BMW PGA Championship, which is the European Tour’s flagship event and will be played the week before the Ryder Cup.
“Anybody who wants a pick is going to have to turn up. Nobody has an excuse not to turn up at the BMW Championship,” Harrington said. “They can't say they're playing another event or they're somewhere else. If you want a pick, you're going to have to turn up and play a big tournament with the other players who are interested in that pick.”